Dad and Davina tomorrow.

Characters: Henry Pinney, Dad  -  the farmer
Gloria Pinney, Mum his wife.
Davina Pinney, their daughter, a Uni student
Cecily Braithwaite, the girl next door, about Davina’s age.
Bob Tunbridge, a young bank manager (country branch).

Scene 1

Sound of wild pigs grunting before curtain opens - it continues

The curtain opens

Lights –evening, dark outside.

We see Mum and Dad asleep in their chairs, with their feet up.

Dad has a slipper hanging from his toe, it swings.

In a lull in the grunting, the slipper falls

a crescendo of Pigs grunting

They wake.

MUM:    Feral pigs!

Dad jumps to his feet.

DAD:    Pigs!

MUM:    They’re in your veggie plot!

Dad hastily puts his slippers on and swears to himself loud and clear.

DAD:    They’re through that fence again! Life’s gotcha by the balls every way round!

Dad exits.

Mum goes to the window, she urgently clenches and opens her hands and waves her arms as if she is directing and willing Dad on.

We hear Dad outside shouting and shooting, pigs squealing throughout the following sequence.

MUM:    Henry — it went behind the water tank!  No!  No!  Henry!
Please, don’t shoot our tank!  We’ll have nothing at all to drink!
(a moment later) Henry! The dunny door is open.  It went in there.

Enter Davina with backpack and a laptop computer case, puts them down.

DAVINA:    Hi, Mum.

MUM:    Oh, my darling!  You’re home.  How lovely!

DAVINA: It sounds like a war zone. Why are the pigs up here?

Davina briefly kisses Mum and goes to the window to join her.

MUM:    They are the worst I’ve ever known them.  And your father — feels for them.  There’s nothing out there for them except your Dad’s vegetables.

DAVINA:    Isn’t he still the official pig and dingo exterminator in this area?

MUM:    Yes, of course he is.  But with so much drought!

Sound of dad falling and wood crashing

     Oh now he’s down!  Let’s pray he hasn’t broken a leg.

DAVINA:    I’ll go and help him.

MUM:    No!  Don’t go.  He’ll shoot you for certain.

                Don’t bother about those veggies — the pigs are welcome to them!

DAVINA:    Really?  The pigs can have them?

MUM:    Dad’s been using a new fertiliser on them.

DAVINA:    Yes?

Mum moves between Davi and the door, partly hiding her from Dad’s entry.

MUM:    Oh yes.  Since you went off to University he’s been getting very technical, very inventive, but he has no idea what he’s doing.

Enter Dad, unhappy.

DAD:    All gone.  Total devastation!  I’ve lost the lot!

DAVINA:    Hello Dad!

DAD:    Ah, Duckling!  Been waiting for you all day, we have.

Davi runs to greet and sympathise with Dad.  Dad hugs her.

DAVINA: I said I’d be late.  I hope you’re not hurt?

DAD:    Just a graze or two — nothing to get upset about.

(to Mum)    Can you find me the torch?  I need it right away.
We’ve got one down the dunny!

Mum looks for the torch while Dad continues talking to Davina.

                All my beautiful red rosy tomatoes, great big prize pumpkins, all ripped down and trampled before you got here.

Mum gives Dad a torch.

DAVINA:    Did you massacre the pigs?

Dad starts to open up the torch.

DAD:    No.  They’ve ripped hole in the fence and scarpered!  Except for the hairy little scud missile that jumped into the dunny.

DAVINA: So is the official exterminator going to pull the scud up again?

DAD:    He is.  If he can get this torch working!

Mum brings the torch and before handing it to Dad she asks:

MUM:    Did you lock the gun away, Dad?

DAD:    Yes, I did.
How your mother does fuss over me.

Mum and Davi exchange understanding looks.
Dad switches the torch to check it works.
Davina  lifts her computer to the cluttered table.

DAVINA:    Can I put my new computer on the table?

MUM:    Dad, we must congratulate Davi on her wonderful achievements.  Here’s the new computer!

Mum moves a few things

DAD:    Very proud!  Very proud of you.

DAVINA: I bought this and my car with my prize money!  The computer is the latest model. The car’s two years old but good as new.  I’ll show it to you in daylight, tomorrow.

The torch now works.

DAD:    Soon have that critter out of there.

Dad congratulates Davi with a pat before he heads out.

He turns at the door

                If your Mother grumbles about me; don’t believe a word you hear.

Exit Dad.

DAVINA:    What is all this stuff on the table?

MUM:    I’m making hats for Cecily.  She got on TV with last year’s hat. I’ll think it’s gone to her head.
I’ll move it all to the sun room, you’ll need some space for that computer.

Mum moves the hat-making tenderly to the table front right (the sunroom) while Davi goes to help Dad.

DAVINA:    I’ll go, check on Dad.

Exit Davina.

slurping noise and pig squealing off stage

DAD off:    Get out of here!  Gerrah!

Enter Davina.

DAVINA:    He’d sent the pig on its way.  He’s gone to take a shower.

MUM:    Darling, you were winning prizes at University and now you’re home to do a project.  I do worry — what is it?  You’re not in trouble are you?

DAVINA:    Mum, you are in a state!  Calm down.  Everything’s fine.

MUM:    You’ve been very secretive about what you are doing.

DAVINA: So have you too.  Hardly get any news from you.
Come and tell me what’s going on here.

They go and sit in the easy chairs.

MUM:    Here?  Well, things are very difficult here.

DAVINA:    How are the emus?  Did the incubators work?

MUM:    Emus!  Oh they didn’t need incubators!  We couldn’t stop them breeding.  We had a nearly hundred of them in no time.  They cost the earth to feed — and we had no market for them.  Dad didn’t research it.

DAVINA:    Oh dear!

MUM:     We had to pay a man to get rid of them humanely.  The birds resisted capture they fought hard to stay.

DAVINA:    But he got rid them.

MUM:    Only after we paid extra for injuries they did to him.

DAVINA: I phoned you often and you never said a word about it.

MUM:    You were always so busy with important studies.
But, now you’re home I want you to — try to put some sense into your Dad.
He has stopped confiding in me and he has some kind of brew, probably alcoholic, going on in the shed.  I don’t like it.

DAVINA:    I’ll see what I can find out.

MUM:    Now, tell me about your project.

DAVINA:I’ll tell you fresh and bright tomorrow morning.

MUM:    Just rip into it.  I’m fed up with your Dad and his secrecy.

DAVINA:    Mum — listen hard then. (sigh)  At Uni we are researching an automatic system to capture feral animals.  It’s perfect for us here.

MUM:    Dad is our feral animal controller!  He has official licences for dealing with feral animals.  It’s the only regular job he has.

DAVINA:That’s why you’ve got to help me put it to him.

MUM:    It’s his birthright from his father.  He’s respected by everyone around the area for his valiant efforts.

DAVINA:    Mum, you’ve got feral pigs picnicking in the back yard and we’ve just yanked one out of the dunny.

MUM:     If he got rid of them all — he’d have no job left to do!

DAVINA:    You may as well lay a clean cloth and invite a pack of dingoes to supper with us.

MUM:    Dad earns a bit from it.  Is the University going to pay for having their project here?

DAVINA:No, but Mum, if you love me at all you’ll help me. I want it here!

MUM:    No, Davi, not while Dad is desperate with the drought and all.  You’re not to say a word about it.  It would be too cruel!

DAVINA: I knew I had to put it to you very carefully.

Davina gets up with annoyance.

Enter Dad.

DAD:    Well, now Duckling, what’s all this about a project you’ve got your heart set on?

Davina picks up her backpack.

DAVINA:    I’m going to bed.  G’night, Dad.  I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

Davina exits.

Mum gets up looking cross.

MUM:    Henry, have you shut up the chooks?  Don’t reply!  I’ll do it myself!

Mum exits.

Dad finds himself alone and deserted.

DAD:    Mass exodus.  Something I said, was it?

Dad looks round the empty room, shrugs and exits.

Lights go down.  MUSIC

Scene 2

We hear a horse arriving and stopping.

Lights up again - morning.

Enter Cecily.

CECILY: as she enters Mum Pinny, he-llo-oo.

Mum enters

She hurries to shush and welcome Cecily.

MUM:    Cecily, sweetheart, keep your voice down.  Davi is home.  She’s sleeping on a bit.

CECILY:    Look at these.  Do you think we can use these on my hat?

Cecily shows a couple of long feathers.

MUM:     Ah, lovely!

CECILY:    What is the awful smell in here, Mum Pinney?

Mum takes the feathers to the hat in the sunroom.

MUM:     I was outside cutting up a very ripe roo carcass for dingo bait.  The wind is blowing it in.

CECILY:    Mucho stinko!  I can’t stay; I rode over on Minko and we have a mare coming for him to service this afternoon. (sees the hat) Ah, the hat’s so nice.  I’m in no real rush; I’ll just try it on.

Cecily kneels down, Mum puts the hat on Cecily and gives her a mirror.

                Could you have it ready for Minko’s race next month?

MUM:    I’m sure I can.

Cecily gets up and demonstrates across the front of the stage.

CECILY:    I’ll be on the TV news again — ‘Here comes Cecily Braithwaite in another spectacular hat!’ We have a window wall screen, big as this entire wall.  I look terrific on it.

Cecily takes the hat off and gives it back to Mum.

MUM:    Davi is trying to catch us up with the rest of the world.

CECILY:    Has she finished Uni?

MUM:    She’s in her final year and she wants to do a project at home.
We’re not very happy about it.

CECILY:    Go on.  I won’t breathe a word.

MUM:    It’s a newfangled automatic gadget for capturing feral animals.

Cecily’s interest perks up.

CECILY:    So, they want to replace Dad Pinney with a robot, do they?

MUM:     A robot?

CECILY:    You know, Star Wars thing!  A great big clanking metal man to go chasing round the fields, racing after the pigs and dingoes and shooting them down with ray guns or lasers.

Mum laughs as Cecily continues:

                I expect they’ll want Mr Pinney to train it.

MUM:    (laughs) Dad — train the robot man?  I hadn’t thought of that!

CECILY:    Some of them need love, Mum Pinney.  Remember the one in Wizard of Oz that needed a heart.  You must welcome it.  Check its dinner menu.  You don’t want to give it indigestion.

MUM:     I could offer it some of Dad’s dodgy veggies.  That’ll test it!

CECILY:I can’t wait to tell Molly.

MUM:    No!  I should never have told you.  Please keep it under your (lifts the hat slightly) hat for now.

CECILY: If I can.  Well, I must get Minkie home for his nuptials.

Cecily gives Mum kiss, preparing to go.
Mum places Cecily’s hat down with care on the computer table.

Davi enters, subdued and sleepily.

DAVINA: Morning.  Oh hi, Cecily.

CECILY:    Hi, Davi.

DAVINA:    Why are you here at crack of dawn?

CECILY:    Everyone’s been up for hours, you lazy bum.
How’s Uni?

DAVINA:    It’s chugging on I suppose.

She goes to Davi and whispers loudly, stifling obvious amusement.

CECILY: I heard all about your metal boy-friend! (laughs) Got to dash!  Visit us soon.  Bye Mum Pinney — just look on the bright side!

MUM:     I will.

Exit Cecily.

                I must finish chopping up that roo carcass.  You used to help me with that.  Do you remember?

DAVINA:I do remember.  That’s why I left home.  What’s this about a metal boy friend?

The phone rings.

Mum picks it up.

MUM:    Hello. (to Davi) It’s Molly.  She’ll want to say hello to you.

(to the phone, worried).  Oh, Molly, I’m so sorry!  (to Davi) Three sheep with their sides torn out.  (to phone) That’s too bad, Molly!  Dad Pinney will be over right away with dingo bait.

Mum gives the phone to Davina who takes it upstage right, rubbing sleepy eyes.

Enter Dad with a basket of a few of his remaining veggies.

DAD:    It’s ten o’clock.  Ah, I see our resident expert is out of bed at last.

MUM:    Listen here!  Maybe Davi’s project is not all doom and gloom.

DAD:    Gloria, what Davi is doing won’t matter at all.  I’m going out of business waiting for that roo bait you were going to cut up for me.

MUM:    I’m going now.  Just take this into your silly skull — you need to find out more about the project!

Davi puts the phone down.

DAVINA:    You will find out about it in a minute.  My Professor is coming here to explain it to you himself.  I didn’t mention it before, but —
he’ll be here in less than an hour’s time.

MUM:    He’ll be here!?  An hour?  We’re not tidy.

DAVINA:    Mum if we wait until you get everything just as you want it, the research will be out of date and in a museum.

DAD:    I’ll cut up my own dingo bait.  I’m going to Molly’s!

Davina and Mum speak together (over each other).

DAVINA:    Don’t go, Dad!  He’s coming to meet you.

MUM:    Stay here, Henry! So thoughtless!

Scene 3.

Mum is returning from the outer door. Dad, Davina are in the room.

MUM:    Well, he was a very friendly man, your Professor.

DAVINA:    Now can you see, it’s going to be marvellous.

DAD:    Load of boloney.

DAVINA:    What, Dad!!?

MUM:    He says it’s the idea of one of his research students who is desperate to work on it and so is Davi.

DAVINA:    We don’t have feral pigs or dingoes at the Uni.  We use students as sheep and students with wheelbarrows for pigs and students on bikes for dingoes.  We need a proper field trial with real pigs and real sheep.  And Dad, you have the trapping licenses and everything.

MUM:     I expected to see the robot in the back seat of the Professor’s car.

Davi shows the track and the dam as if they exist front stage, dam to the right.

DAVINA:    Neither of you have understood a word of what he said.
Look I’ll show you.  We fence in our dam over here.  And here is a fenced track, so every animal has to come down here for a drink.

                OK.  Dad, you stand this end of this track (towards right) as if you were a gate.  Hurry up!

     Mum, you be a thirsty animal.  (starts from left ready to come across front stage) Don’t tell me which animal you are!

                I will be the robotic system - here. (midway)

     OK, go for your drink, Mum.

Enter Cecily.

CECILY:    Oh hello!  I saw a car so I raced back.  Has the robot arrived yet?  Where is it? (looking around and arriving next to Davi)

MUM:    It’s not here.  We are demonstrating.  Davi is about to shoot me down with an imaginary ray gun.

DAVINA:    No, I’m not. I’m going to scan you with a video camera.

Mum is a sheep going down the run.  Davi scans, hands to eyes.

MUM:    Baa, baa, black sheep!  Have you any wool?

DAVINA:    Our vision system scans your image and compares it with data in our computer. (taps her head) It finds you’re a sheep.

MUM:    Very clever.

DAVINA:    Shush Mum!  It sends a message to the gate (points to Dad)  to swing to the right (the gate swings right) and the sheep goes through to drink and away to freedom.

Dad pats Mum’s behind as she goes through.

MUM:    (Mum pretends to drink) Ah, a very welcome drink.

DAVINA:    Now I need a feral animal to trot down this track.

CECILY:    Oh no!  That’s certainly not me.

DAD:    Here, Davi, you be the gate, I’ve got an animal for you.

Dad goes to the left of the track taking a hat and a carrot with him.  A carrot in his mouth and hat on his head he comes down the track.

     Oink, oink, oink, oink.

DAVINA:    The computer sees a feral pig and the gate swings it into the capture pen.  In that corner.

Davi blocks Dad into the corner.

MUM:    And does he get a drink too?

DAVINA:    Yes, our biologist insists on first class accommodation for all.  He’ll come and collect the feral animals every day.

CECILY: Is he a robot?

She goes to the start of the run.

DAVINA:    No, Cess.  He’s a very handsome regular human being.

CECILY:    I’ll have a go at this.  Are we all ready and watching?

Dad,M,Davi:    (groaning) Yes.

Cecily walks down the track like a fashion model.

DAVINA: It looks like a feral randy gorilla?

MUM:    No!  She’s a beauty Queen or a TV star.

DAVINA:    We are not yet geared up for a beauty queen or a TV star!
We hand you to the researcher.  He will measure your statistics.

CECILY: Is the researcher a robotic man?

DAVINA:    No Cess, he’s another normal human being.

CECILY:    So, there’s no robot coming here!?

DAVINA:    There will be normal human students coming to study the system, and normal TV reporters to film it when it’s working.

CECILY:    TV, filming!!!  I must have this project at my place.  My father can offer so much more than you . . .

Davi takes the phone and dials.  She thrusts it at Dad.

DAVINA:    Dad, talk to the Professor this instant, on his mobile, and accept it for us, right now!!

Blackout, Lights up.

Scene 4

Light comes up, morning.

Mum sits in an armchair with newspaper, Dad leans over the back of it looking at her newspaper.  Davi stands beside the chair.

DAD:    We’ve done a lot in a month getting your project set up.  You should be happy with this.

MUM:    Page four of the news!  Henry Pinney and the Professor shaking hands beside the automatic gate and an article all about it.

DAD:    “Henry Pinney has the first completely automatic feral animal capture system in the country.”  Haven’t I been saying for thirty years; ‘We must move with the times’?

MUM:    You’re as proud of it as if it was all your own work.

DAD:    We caught three pigs last night.  They are trying to dig their way out of course.  I’ve got to give that some thought.

Mum points to picture in newspaper.

MUM:    And here’s Tim, the biologist, with the view from our hilltop ridge.  He has found a rare species of small marsupials up there and he has a grant to study them.

DAVINA:(smoochily) Tim!

MUM:    He showed me his collection of rare bugs.  I wasn’t sure whether to admire them or fetch the fly spray.

DAD:    He has mounted a whole range of cameras up there sending video to the University.

                We’ve got a satellite dish up there talking to the stars.

DAVINA:    Dad, the dish isn’t talking to the stars.  It is streaming video up to a satellite.  It bounces off the satellite and down to the students in the University.

DAD:    That’s why Cecily rides her horse up there every day and waves to those cameras.

MUM:    She’s in every one of these photographs, too.

DAVINA:    The researchers at the Uni are seeing a lot more of her than they are of the ecology they are supposed to be studying.

DAD:    But I’ve an idea.  If I rigged my old rifle to that gate, I could pop the feral animals off automatically each time it swings one into the capture pen.  It’d save a lot of damage to those fences.  ‘Dad’s automatic pop ‘em off.’

DAVINA:    Dad!  Don’t even joke about it.  I’ve told you.  Don’t you dare even touch the gate.  You won’t — will you?!  Promise?!

Phone rings.

Mum takes the phone.

MUM:    Yes — yes.  Ah, Mr Tunbridge?

                (to Dad and Davi, anxiously) It’s the bank!  (to phone) Yes, yes, we are all at home this morning.  Very well then.  Then we’ll expect to see you here in a few moments.

She puts the phone down.

     Bob Tunbridge, the bank manager, on his mobile.  He’s calling on us at home.  His car is already in the driveway.

DAVINA:    Mmm?  What does he want?

DAD:       I have a few urgent jobs outside.

MUM:    Stay here Henry!

DAVINA:    I’ll go and tidy up.

Davina exits.

Sound of a car arriving

MUM:    He’s here already and Henry, you look most disreputable!
Be very sweet to him.

Mum goes to the door.

Bob enters from outer door.

                Mr Tunbridge, welcome to you.

BOB:    Good morning, Mrs Pinny.

Dad is far left. Mum moves behind the arm chairs to join Dad. Bob stays right of the dining table.

DAD:    Excuse me.  Mrs Pinney wants me to change my shirt for you.

MUM:    Not now, Henry.

Mum offers the plush chair and plumps it up, but Bob stays standing by the table.

                Mr Tunbridge, please sit down.  My husband has a tummy bug, so that’s why he is not working out in the fields today.

BOB:    I’ve come — because, as you know, the bank has had to make the decision to — foreclose on your mortgage.
I have brought the paperwork that has to be signed.

Bob opens his briefcase at the table.  Dad and Mum look alarmed.

MUM:     Foreclose!  What are you talking about, Bob?

BOB:    This is a very unpleasant task.  But — the bank has allowed you one month to pack and move out if you sign over the title today.
If I had not been able to contact you today, the bailiffs would be coming here on Friday.

Mum tweaks Dad’s sleeve, saying to him:

MUM:    “Pack!” “Move out!”  “Bailiffs!”

Bob moves things to make room for his paperwork on the table.

BOB:    Signing the title of the farm to the bank will avoid court and litigation costs.

Mum and Dad, look at each other anxiously.  Bob spots his letters on the table.

     The bank has sent numerous letters stating their position.
Ah, my letters are here, unopened, on your table.

MUM:    I’m sure this is all a little mix up!  Tea or coffee, Bob?  Or would you like a stronger drink?

BOB:       A glass of water would be nice, thank you.

MUM:    Yes, yes, I’ll see what we have.

Mum exits.

DAD:    Bob, didn’t you receive my latest ideas?

Bob starts to move behind table and then downstage towards Dad.

BOB:       I received a letter about the new fertiliser.  (Dad nods) I replied to you, Mr Pinney.

Dad walks downstage left indicating the veggies outside.

DAD:    Bob, I had prize winning tomatoes and pumpkins growing out here.  They have been destroyed now but they proved that this is an exceptional fertiliser we are talking about.

Bob follows to talk right of centre downstage to Dad, left of centre.

BOB:    You told me you were using a new bacterium to recycle household waste for use on the vegetables?

DAD:    We must recycle everything these days, Bob.  And now I go a step further. This is top secret!  I am now using the same fermentation bacteria to create ‘Pinney’s Best Bitter’.  It is very well fortified if you understand me.  (Pats chest)

BOB:    Sorry, Mr Pinney.  You are fermenting beer with septic bacteria?!

DAD:    Er, I have some outside.  Would you like to sample it?

BOB:    No, thank you Sir.

DAD:    (eager to go) I’ll go and fetch it.

Dad hurries between armchairs to get to the door to house.
Bob hurries behind the armchairs to cut him off from the door.

BOB:    Sir, no, I won’t touch it.  I really won’t, Sir.

Dad returns downstage between the chairs, Bob comes downstage left of chairs.

DAD:    Bob, I telling you, one of our big breweries will snap this up and run with it.  Just give me a couple of months.

They talk with Bob left of centre, Dad right of centre.

BOB:    We’ve reached the end of the road, Mr Pinney.

DAD:    The bank has sent a messenger boy to vanquish a King from his castle!  You’re just a foot soldier, Bob.  You’re not going to budge me from this property.

Dad suddenly feels the effects of his tummy bug and clutches his stomach.

     No you won’t budge me.  Uh — uh, excuse me — out of my way.  I have to use the bathroom.

Dad hurries past Bob to reach the house door.

Enter Mum with a glass of water.

MUM:    Are you alright, dear?

Dad has to get around her to go out.

DAD:       I will be, if you don’t stand in my way.  I’m in a hurry.

Exit Dad.

MUM:    Dad has not yet invented a cast iron stomach.  I expect that will be tomorrow’s project to put us on the road to recovery!

BOB:       I think Mr Pinney has been testing some home brewed beer.

MUM:    Yes, I have discovered it.  He says it just needs more maturing, but perhaps it is Henry that needs maturing. (distinctly) Here is your water, Bob.

BOB:    Thank you.  It is rather cloudy.  From the tank is it?

He holds the water up to look at it against the window, remembering the beer.

MUM:    That is all we have here.  Our water is just as heaven made it, clouds and all.

Bob doesn’t drink the water, just holds it.
Mum plumps up the back of the comfortable chair.

     Now, Bob, sit down for a moment, please.

Bob moves behind the dining table, puts the water on it and goes to his briefcase.

BOB:    Mrs Pinney, I have another meeting scheduled.

Bob sits at the far right of the table with his paperwork. Mum gradually moves closer to him left to right.

MUM:    Then I’ll tell you straight. The Pinneys have farmed here for five generations and loyally supported you all that time. It . . .

BOB:    Mrs Pinney, the bank has to look to the future.

MUM:    And so do we on the land.  We trust that the grass will grow again after a drought.  The bank must realise that their grazing will return too.

                Bob, you took advantage!  You lent Mr Pinney far too much money. If you give a hungry man cake he will eat it!  You should not have let him have it.

                You should be ashamed of yourself for letting it get to this!

BOB:    Mrs Pinny, the property is in Mr Pinney’s name.  It’s not my fault he decided to mortgage.

MUM:    So, do you expect me to take these to him in the dunny!?

BOB:       I have to witness his signature.

MUM:    Then you’d better go out to the dunny and witness it!

BOB:       I can wait a few more minutes.

Enter Davina.

MUM:    Here is Davina. (to Davi) We are waiting for your father to come back.

Davina nods and smiles, sitting on the arm of a sitting room chair.  She is now looking very charming and is wearing make up.  They wait.

BOB:    The bailiffs will be here on Friday unless I can get these signed.

MUM:    I’ll go and see how long he’ll be.

Exit Mum.

DAVINA:    Bob, do you remember me from the Harlequin ball last summer?

BOB:    Yes, Davi, I do.

DAVINA:    I’m home from University to do a project for my final year.
I’m only just hearing our problem now for the first time.

BOB:    It’s tough, Davi.

DAVINA: Bob, I think I can help.  I won a major cash prize last semester.  I spent it on a car and a computer but I could sell the car and pay off some of what’s owing.  My car would fetch four or five thousand if I sold it today.

She sits at the table where Mum was sitting.

BOB:    The farm debt is over and above the worth of the property.
If your parents want a month to pack personal effects they must come to my office this afternoon and sign these forms.
Say goodbye for me, please.  I’m very sorry for you, Davi.

Davina rushes over to fetch the newspaper.

DAVINA:    Bob, I have a University project set up here.  Here’s an article about it in this newspaper.  (She shows him the paper.)  A documentary about it is going out on Cable TV this week.  And we have more publicity coming.

BOB:       Is the project earning money for the farm, Davi?

DAVINA:    Only a small amount for maintenance.  You see, it’s a learning tool for students, but it is going to lead on to bigger things.

Bob gathers his papers into his brief case and stands up.

     It’s so dry here you’ll get nothing for the property. 
I’m offering five thousand in cash tomorrow to buy one month to work out a business plan.  I will prove to the bank that their loan will bring a good return.

BOB:    Davi, it’s too late.

DAVINA:    Your bailiffs are sure to clash with the TV crew shooting our documentary here.  Horrid publicity for you if we are being interviewed with all our personal things out on the lawn.

BOB:       I could mention that to the area manager. 

Davi offers her hand.  They shake hands while Bob says

DAVINA:    Bob, take my offer. Five thousand dollars tomorrow and a fully costed plan by the end of this month.

BOB:    Five thousand tomorrow and a fully costed plan before the end of the month.  I’ll email you some forms.

Bob exits.

DAVINA:    (Sees Bob to the door then goes to sag into Dad’s chair.) Phew!

Enter Dad and Mum.

Dad walks to the outside door to glimpse the retreating Bob.

MUM:    You got rid of him!

She sits in her arm chair.

DAVINA:    I’ll sell my car to the garage this afternoon.
Then we need a plan for a thriving business venture.

Dad crosses behind the chairs and puts his hand on Davi’s shoulder.

DAD:    Davi, you’re a good girl but hang onto your car.

                I’m going outside to pack some eggs.

MUM:    Don’t walk away, Dad.  We need to talk.

DAD:    We still need cash from the produce market to feed ourselves.

Dad starts for the house door and turns.

     Then I’ll let the hens into the vegetable paddock.  The debris will keep them alive for a day or two.

Davina jumps up angrily.

DAVINA:    You think I’m just a silly girl, is that it?

Dad exits.

MUM    Dad’s been searching for a successful business venture for thirty years and more.  He works hard, but someone always undercuts him.

                If we’d had rain this year he was going to plant sunflowers in the shape of a valentine for me, on our hillside.  You’d have seen it flowering from here and all along the road.

Mum dabs at her tears.  Davi turns back to face Mum rather fiercely.

DAVINA:    Maybe we could grow somebody’s company logo up there, seen from all along the road.

MUM:    We’ve got no time, and it’s far too dry.

DAVINA:    We’ll sell everything we can and you charge Cecily for her hats.

MUM:     I will not!  Don’t you start screaming out our problems to our neighbours.  I’d sooner choke to death.

DAVINA:    You won’t be here to worry about our neighbours very soon.  You’ll be out there!

MUM:    Out where!?


Scene 5

A ring at the door bell.

Lights up mid-morning

Davi is at her computer.  Mum is dismally adjusting another new hat for Cecily.


Enter Cecily.

CECILY:    Hello you two.  I have come with exciting news.

MUM:    Shush, Davi’s desperately busy.

The phone rings.

                Let me get the phone, and then we’ll go outside and talk.

Cecily plumps down in Mum’s armchair.
Mum answers the phone and takes it to the sunroom not to disturb Davi.

                Hello, who is this?  Cable Television!  No thank you.  Good day to you!

Davi grabs the phone.  Mum with a hat follows Davi to the computer screen.

DAVINA:    No Mum, don’t hang up!  It’s for me.

      Hello, hello, hold on.  I'm sorry; it’s Davina, my Mum nearly cut you off.  I got your email — I'm just replying to it now.

                Our view is alive on line now.  Yes! You’ll confirm by email!

                Thank you very much.  Goodbye.

She hangs up. She walks right to left stage as she describes what is happening.

                That’s amazing!  Totally, amazing!  Dad’s flowery valentine and Tim’s hilltop cameras gave me the idea.

MUM:    Yes?  Goes behind table and stands behind Cecily.

DAVINA:    I’m selling our view from the hilltop ridge to cable TV for these huge wall sized TV screens, a picture sunny day or starry night, with close ups — infra red at night — showing the rare marsupials.  Cable are offering ten thousand dollars per year for it!  They will set up their own cameras once they sign with us.

CECILY: I will get this view at our house on the big wall screen.
Will I still be allowed to ride up the hillside?

DAVINA:    Oh, who knows, Cess.  I shall have to find out what’s wanted.

CECILY    Well, I have some hugely wonderful news too?

MUM:    Yes, Cecily?

CECILY:    Minko’s new foal is going all the way to England. He sold at a huge price!

Mum pats Cecily while Davi is glued to the computer.

     We’re going to have a web site with photos of Minko on it!

Davi is suddenly interested in Cecily’s conversation.  Mum moves behind chair to sit in Dad’s chair with hat.

DAVINA: A web site, Cess?  I could design it for you.
I need to earn some money — in a stinking great hurry.

CECILY:    No!  I intend to get the best, not something dashed off in a hurry.

DAVINA: I didn’t mean it that way.  Nobody could do it better than I will.  But, I’d have to charge you — maybe — a thousand dollars?

CECILY: It depends if I like it that much.  You sound pretty wound up!

The phone rings

Davi picks it up.

DAVINA:    Hello, Bob? 
Yes, that’s really very sweet of you.

Davi takes the phone behind chairs to left stage.

CECILY:    Are Davi and Bob seeing each other?

MUM:    Oh no, sweetheart.  Davi’s trying business ideas on him.

CECILY:    Bob and I are dating.  We are going steady!

MUM:    You and Bob, dear.  I had no idea.

Davina is very animated.

DAVINA:    Yes, a picnic would be just perfect.  Why don’t we take it up to our hilltop.  We’ll have no interruptions and it’s a terrific view.
See you then, Bob.  Bye then!

Davina returns to replace the phone.

                Bob’s emailing some business forms to me.

CECILY: I heard you.  He’s taking you on a picnic on your hilltop.

MUM:    Davi.  Cecily and Bob are dating.

CECILY:    So, why are you going on a picnic with him?

DAVINA:    He’s going to help me sort out a business plan.

CECILY:    On a picnic!

                You come rushing home puffing off your brains in front of all our faces like some fancy tart!

DAVINA:He’s helping me with finances.  I’m not dating him for his body.

CECILY:    I’ve been on picnics with Bob.  It won’t be business that’s on his mind.  (turns to Mum) Mum Pinney help me.

Enter Dad.

                (back to Davi) Davi, cancel the picnic!  Visit him in his office in office hours.  Good morning Mr Pinney.

DAVINA:    Don’t involve my Mum and Dad, Cess.  You won’t stop me. I’m trying to humour Bob because I’ve got a lot at stake.
He has invited me on a picnic and I’m going on the picnic!

CECILY:    Well then! — You can stick that expensive web site straight up your backside!  Stuff everything, Davina Pinney!

Cecily, hurt and angry, tearful, chucks her new hat onto the floor

She storms out.

DAD:    You come back here, Miss Cecily Braithwaite!

MUM:    She’s all upset.

DAD:    Go and fetch our little Cecily back here, this instant!

Davina exits and comes back with Cess.

                Is that how you treat Mum Pinney? (points to hat)

CECILY:    Sorry, Mum.  (bursts into tears) But Davi can’t picnic with Bobsy!  He loves me!  I love him!

Cecily disolves into tears.  Mum goes to hug her.

DAVINA:    OK, Cess, I won’t go on the stupid picnic.

CECILY:    You might as well – the man did ask you.  I can’t force him to be loyal to me.

DAVINA:    Mum, please hug me too!  I’m so worried.  I’m going quite crazy.

MUM:    Oh dear!  Cecily the trouble is that the bank is going to foreclose on us.  We’re going to be thrown out of our own home!

CECILY:    Oh, how dreadful!  That is horrible!

Lights dim to Blackout.

Scene 6

Lights evening

Davina and Cecily enter laughing.

DAVINA:    Bob was so surprised when you came riding up the hillside.

CECILY:    Dad Pinney gave me a big jar of beer to deliver to you both.

Davi flounces into Dad’s chair.

DAVINA:    Oh dear.  What have we done?

CECILY: I couldn’t help it, the lid just popped off the great big pickle jar of beer and it spilt all over him.  (giggles)

DAVINA:    But you didn’t have to make him strip off up there.

Cecily sits legs coiled up in Mum’s chair.

CECILY: I didn’t make him.  He tore them off to prove that I’d soaked him.

DAVINA:    He was wearing pink pin-stripe boxers!  I’ve never seen that before. (giggles)

CECILY: I have seen them lots of times.

DAVINA:There’s something I didn’t tell you!

CECILY:    What?

DAVINA:    (sigh) For now I’ll just say that Bob’s perfectly innocent, he never made a single pass at me.

CECILY:    Didn’t he?  He’s so good natured, poor, sweet Bobsy.  I did give him a lift back here on Minko.

DAVINA:    Galloping down the hill was a bit mean.  He’d never ridden on a horse before, he was terrified.

Enter Bob from house wrapped in a negligee, showing bare legs.

Stands left of armchairs.

BOB:       I always have those trousers dry cleaned.  Those are my good office trousers!

DAVINA:    The washing machine has stopped.  I’ll go and hang them out.

Exit Davina.

CECILY:    Oh, Bobsey!  (Big giggle)

Bob moves to sit on right arm of Dad’s chair.

BOB:    I’m really annoyed with you Cecily.

CECILY:You shouldn’t have gone up there on a picnic with Davi?

BOB:       I told you it was a business meeting with her.

CECILY    Did she tell you I’ve got a business plan for her.  And she likes it.  And so does Mr Pinney.  It’ll set them right with the bank.

BOB:    What is it?

CECILY:    My father will lease a piece of their hillside to agist stallions.  He’ll pay top dollar because Cable TV are going to broadcast rural scenes from up there.  — And I will be allowed to exercise Minko up there whenever I feel like it, in sight of the cameras.  It’s all agreed!  Mr Pinney says it will cover their monthly repayments.

BOB:    That’s great!  I’m very happy for them.

phone rings.

CECILY:    I’ll get it.

Cecily jumps up to answer it.

                Hello, the Pinney residence.

She takes it far left as she speaks.

                Ah, hello . . . Da-ad?  (to Bob very perturbed) It’s my Dad for me. (to phone) Oh, is my mobile switched off?  Silly me.
No, Dad, what did you see this afternoon?
You were watching our wall window screen!  They’ve gone live!  Yes, Dad!  I’ll come home right away to explain myself.

She hurries back and puts the phone down on the table quickly, looking guilty.

     Phew.  I’m in a bit of trouble at home.

BOB:    Cecily, what’s happened?

CECILY:    Bob, your splendid body image has gone streaming out, er . . . I have turned you into a film star.

BOB:    What have you done, Cecily!?

CECILY: I told you the Pinney’s have sold some rights to Cable TV.  Their cameras on the hilltop went live today with a stunning start. They saw us . . .

Bob stands up revealing the pink stripe boxers.

BOB:    So, Cable viewers had a great view of me — in my boxers?  Bloody hell!  The bank’s going to fire me!  What have you done?!

CECILY:    Oh Bobsie, I’ll come and explain it to your area manager. Even blind Freddy could see that it was my entire fault.

BOB:    Go and get my clothes right away!

Enter  Dad with a tray of glasses of champagne.  Mum helps him hand them out.
Davi enters with some nibbles on a plate.

MUM:    We’ve just had Davi’s results.  First class honours.
Bob, take one of these and we’ll toast her success.

They toast the results.

DAVINA:    I’ve been invited to visit Peru to automatically sort Llamas from sheep with our gate.  Tim and I are both going to base a PhD on it.

CECILY  I thought you were up to something with that biologist.
Well, you can also celebrate Bob and my engagement.
Yes, I will marry you, Bob!

They hug.

                And cheers to Bob's promotion.

BOB    The bank have offered me the position of area manager.  Well, that is if your Cable TV hasn’t done me in already.

DAD:    Area manager, well done I’m sure.  But may I ask why are you in my lounge room wearing my wife’s robe?

DAVINA: I lent it to him because his clothes got soaked in your beer.

They hold glasses up for the toast.

DAD:    I’m glad someone had a use for the beer.

MUM:    And we can drink a toast Cecily and me.  We are going into business together.  We are calling it, ‘Orchid Fashion Flutters’. 

CECILY    I’ll be riding up the hillside showing off stylish outfits Mum’s going to make.  The cameras already seem to love me.

DAD:    And thanks to all the rent I am getting from that hillside we are up to date with repayments to the bank.  And I am going to grow exotic orchids — I’ll try my special fertiliser on them.

DAVINA: I have to find time to set up a web site for these enterprises.

MUM:    But — Henry, you are not to take out another loan!

DAD:    No.  I won't need to do that — wealth will be pouring from the sky. The weather forecast is for steady rain — all next week.

To audience.

ALL:    Cheers!